MasterCard is about to offer its cardholders a little extra fraud protection. The major network announced Wednesday it is extending its zero liability policy to include ATM and PIN-based transactions as of October 2014.
Under federal law, credit card holders may be held liable for up to $50 in fraudulent charges. Debit card holders may be liable for up to $500 depending on how long they take to report the fraud.
Zero liability policies, offered by major networks and, by extension, most issuers, exceed these legal protections, with a few notable exceptions. ATM and PIN-based transactions, prior to MasterCard's announcement, were popular exceptions among debit card policies.
Visa would not comment on whether it was planning any changes in light of MasterCard's decision, but did forward its current zero liability policy, which excludes ATM and PIN-based transactions.
MasterCard also announced Wednesday it is adding Identity Theft Resolution assistance to all of its U.S. credit, debit, prepaid and small-business cards. This service helps cardholders cancel missing cards, alert credit reporting agencies and detect if stolen personal information appears online. It will be available beginning July 2014.
Since early 2012, MasterCard has pushed for U.S. retailers, ATM owners and financial firms to migrate away from magnetic stripes and to a more secure EMV chip card system.
Beth Kitchener, a spokeswoman for MasterCard, says the network's latest fraud enhancements weren't directly related to its EMV initiative. However, with fraud and data breaches being top-of-mind for so many consumers, she says, "it seemed like a good time to work with our issuers to broaden our protections and offer cardholders a little peace of mind."
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